Tossback Tuesday: Kevin Garnett dominated Team USA practice in 2000
Back before USA Basketball was embarrassed in the 2004 Olympics and needed to regroup and take the competitions more seriously as an organization, they were still the best basketball team assembled in the world. The 2000 USA National Team for the Sydney games wasn’t exactly the Dream Team of 1992, but they still threw out an insane roster with more talent than anybody else could handle.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had Kevin Garnett on the roster. He was joined by Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Tim Hardaway, Steve Smith, Ray Allen, Allan Houston, Vince Carter, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vin Baker, Antonio McDyess, and Alonzo Mourning. There is a lot of perimeter defense on that team. There is a lot of shooting on that team. There are a lot of Hall of Famers on that team.
And apparently, KG was better than all of them — at least when they did full court one-on-one drills. The Instagram account NBA History (249,000 followers) posted a video from practice back in 2000 in which one player has to stop another and then take the rebound and bring the ball up against pressure. They then have to score on their opponent in order to keep going.
KG was pretty good at it.
He gets a missed jumper from Grant Hill and then banks in a jumper over him. He banks in a jumper over Vince Carter. He crosses Shareef Abdur-Rahim the hell up (maybe there was a carry in there) before getting the finger roll. He gets Jason Kidd (remember this is all-world perimeter defender Jason Kidd) with a crossover and eventually knocks home a jumper on him.
KG just destroyed everybody in that video. And just for good measure, here’s the video the same account posted of KG highlights against Team Canada that summer.
He was so fun and so unfair at times. It’s weird to think currently Zach LaVine is the most likely USA Basketball candidate for this Wolves team. Andrew Wiggins is on Team Canada. Karl-Anthony Towns is on the Dominican National Team. Maybe Kris Dunn will be that guy but the Wolves have a very international team.
Gorgui Dieng plays for Senegal. Ricky Rubio is obviously on the Spanish team. Nemanja Bjelica will be Professor Big Shots on Team Serbia once again.
Once upon a time, KG was that national pride for the Wolves and he turned out pretty good. In the 2000 Olympics, KG finished second in scoring (behind Vince Carter), first in rebounding, third in assists (behind Jason Kidd and Gary Payton), tied for first in steals (with Kidd and GP), and he only had two blocks (Ray Allen led the team with 11!).